Why was this evil man allowed out of prison so soon? says TIM NEWARK

Marie McCourt

Marie McCourt (Image: PA)

If MPs had not wasted time in the last Parliament, Helen’s Law would have been passed and Simms would have to stay in jail. It is a cruel irony that Helen’s mother who led the heroic campaign for a law change should see her own daughter’s murderer about to walk free on parole. Marie McCourt’s daughter was killed in 1988 by Ian Simms and ever since the murderer has refused to reveal where he hid her body. “I can’t get closure not knowing where she is,” says her mother. 

Simms was given a life sentence but, as always, this does not mean what it says and he came up for parole this week. 

Amazingly, the Parole Board thought he was ready to walk free. 

This is not the first time they have made a serious error in judgment that outrages our public sense of justice. 

Last year the Parole Board had to ­backtrack on releasing the so‑called black cab serial rapist John Worboys. 

But this decision is even worse when one considers that Helen’s Law had been included in the Queen’s Speech last month and was due to become law. 

It is only because hopeless, feet-dragging MPs filled up parliamentary business that this has not happened. 

In the meantime, the Parole Board is seemingly unaware of the terrible significance of their decision and has cruelly deprived Marie McCourt of the justice she sought for her daughter. 

Could they not have had the decency to delay their parole decision until this law has been passed in Parliament, probably early next year? 

Why do the rights of murderers and serious criminals always seem to trump those of their victims? 


Marie holds a photograph of her murdered daughter (Image: Mirror)

Helen McCourt, 22, went missing in February 1988 on her way home in Merseyside. 

Simms, a publican, was convicted of her murder after her blood and one of her earrings was found in his car boot. 

In 2009, 21 years after Helen’s murder, Simms refused to meet Marie McCourt at a parole hearing and answer her questions. 

“He was not there because he is a coward,” she rightly said. 

He has never even admitted the crime. 

In 2015, she launched her campaign asking for a change in the law to prevent convicted murderers being released on parole if they refuse to reveal the location of their victims’ bodies. 

Her petition raised hundreds of thousands of signatures in support. 

She was joined by other bereaved parents, including Joan Morson, whose son was murdered by two men who never told her where they left his body, and Jean Taylor, whose daughter was dismembered, her resting place never revealed, and yet the murderer was allowed out of jail on ­compassionate leave into their community without the ­mother’s knowledge. 

Murderers should not be granted any favours at all if they continue to fail to admit their guilt and not help victims’ ­parents locate the remains of their loved ones. 

Marie handed her petition into Downing Street in 2018. 

In March this year Simms was allowed out of prison on temporary release. 

In May, the Ministry of Justice agreed to change the law. 

“Innocent ­families should never have their grief compounded by offenders who refuse to disclose information on their victims,” said Justice Secretary Buckland. 

“Not only will this Bill help prevent the torture of families in Marie’s situation but we also believe evil sexual offenders… should face longer behind bars.” 

Instead Marie and her family have been subjected to a cruel ordeal. 

“Our family is running out of time to get this over the line before he is released,” she said last month.

“He’s tortured us all these years. Why should he be allowed out to torture us even more?” 

It is essential that this decision be revisited and Simms be kept in prison until the law raised in his victim’s name is passed through parliament. 

The Parole Board must not simply act by the letter of the law but show greater sensitivity to the fact that some cases require wiser decision-making that takes on board the wider ­implications of their judgments. 

It is important for society that justice is always seen to be done. 

Sadly, Marie McCourt and her family have not been served well and it is a disgrace that all her hard campaigning work has failed to deliver ­justice for her and her daughter Helen. 

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Share on google plus
    Google Comments
    Facebook Comments


Post a Comment